Today is a difficult day for me, and I believe a lot of people feel the same way. It’s hard to imagine what the next four years are going to look like. I’ll admit, it’s a bit daunting. Last night, while I was on the exercise bike, watching that horrid countdown to inauguration, all I could think of was, “What can I do to help?”
I landed on reinvesting in this site, taking up writing again (I’m still a horrible writer, FYI), and getting back to what I started. Sharing beautiful ideas, inspiring projects, writing about the new… that’s what I can do. With all the bad that’s going on in the world hopefully I can bring some positivity, and shine a light on the people who are doing amazing work.
To help kick things off, I’d love help from those of you out there who still read the site to contribute. If you think someone/yourself is doing amazing work, email me and let me know: email@example.com
Animated Gif by Rodrigo Tello
I’ve had a lot of trouble starting this post, I’ve been attempting to write it for a month or two now. After daily posts of ideas, creativity, and randomness, how do I explain my drought of passion and ideas? Well, a lot of it has to do with my day job. For those who didn’t know I’m a full-time creative director at Disney who nowadays feels most like they’re moonlighting as a blogger. I currently work with a brilliant team of 21 creatives – UX, UI, Vis Dev, and more. Together we’re making some pretty phenomenal web and app experiences as well as beautiful pieces of art that we share with millions of Disney fans across pretty much every social platform out there. Saying it’s an exciting time would be an understatement.
While my career continues to excite me the blog unfortunately suffers for it. Thankfully, taking a break over the last few months has given me some time to rest, to refocus, to regain my perspective. After over 8 years now I can’t simply let this site whither and die, it would be a travesty. So I’ve decided to get back at this, sharing the ideas that shape the way I see the world. It probably won’t be design-centric all the time but the world is large and full of wonders (sorry for butchering your quote Lord Dunsany). Hell, I’ve even decided to throw a new style onto the site. It’s not quite refined yet but it looks sharp on mobile and it’s something fresh to make the return even sweeter. Thanks again for all the support over the years, here’s hoping you’re still enjoying the ride.
Traditionally I’ve never done gift guides, not really my style, and I’m not a fan of “Best Of” lists either, very subjective and overly time restrictive. This year I’ve decided to put together a week of posts highlighting My Favorite Things, ranging from food, to design, to fashion, to experiences. Might you want to purchase some of these things? Sure, but the point is really to highlight the talented folks who’ve inspired me. Hopefully you can feel equally inspired by their output and take that energy into the new year.
It’s interesting when you run a site dedicated to the work of others. You try not to create anything that’s flashy or distracting from the “content”, so you tone things down and let the styling fade into the background. Unfortunately, over the last six years, I think that TFIB perhaps became a little too… flat.
With the help of my friend Tim Mather, who co-owns the beer app Untappd, we’ve made some UI changes to make the site feel a bit more colorful and lively while still providing a clear reading experience. The header reminds me of old Kitsune Noir days which some of you longtime readers will remember. Overall I’m happy to have the site feel cleaner and more vibrant, which pairs with our posts more effectively.
Hopefully you enjoy it as well. Feedback is totally welcome and appreciated as we’re still getting some of the bugs worked out.
It’s been a crazy couple of months. Between my day job at Disney, running the site every day, finding time to enjoy life, well… you know the saying “Give 120%”? I certainly agree with the sentiment, but I honestly think there are times when 120% still isn’t enough. In this case I had to pull back on the blog for about a month simply for my own well-being. I took a week off around the 4th of July, but never really found the energy to come back full force. Last week though, I caught my second wind and I think the site is going to be in a really great place.
I’ve also been planning some larger changes. First thing is that we’re focusing the site on design more. It’s kind of a silly thing to say, I’ve always thought about the site as a “design site”, but it’s started to get a little too scattered without enough focus. So, expect more graphic design, industrial design, typography, really hone in on the good stuff. We’ll still be dabbling in contemporary illustration and fine art, with a little bit of music blended in for fun. I’ve also been working on tweaking the site design (again) because the site is feeling flat to me. Expect more color and a cleaner design.
I’d also like to welcome Carli Krueger and Nick Partyka who are both joining the site as part time writers. Carli will be focusing on typography while Nick will be tackling design. A big welcome to them!
As an added bonus I decided to put one of my favorite Rilo Kiley songs below, a sweet track called “August”. It kind of perfectly defines what August the month feels like to me, I hope you enjoy it, and the changes that are coming to the site.
Background image above via Black Arts Viper
I’m going on a cleanse to find myself. Well, that might be a bit much, but I am trying to make some personal changes, and with them, come changes to the site. Since I started The Fox Is Black (and Kitsune Noir before that) I’ve always treated the site as “just something I do” without giving it much further thought. For the past months though I’ve been giving the site a lot of thought, namely, what’s the point?
Well, I have a lot of ideas around this question, but I’m closing down the site for the week in order to figure out the details. A big part of the break will be spent refocusing the site from an editorial perspective. I’ve realized, both personally and professionally, that it’s easy to make a beautifully designed website, but it’s only as good as the stories you put in it. It will still be the site you love, but hopefully a better, more refined version.
That said, I am looking to add some talented writers to the roster of TFIB. I’m searching for writers who are obsessed with contemporary design, typography, illustration or fine art. I want writers with strong opinions, who understands trends vs. fads, and keeps a positive attitude in their writing. I’m hoping to find a mixture of paid full-time, writers as well as part-time writers who’d like to contribute to the site less frequently.
If interested, please send an email about yourself (like a paragraph, please keep it short and sweet) along with links to pieces you’ve written, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking to hire people in the next week or two, so be sure to email soon.
As I’ve been making improvements to TFIB over the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering why websites aren’t more responsive to people? Why should they remain static and not bend to our needs? In that way I’ve been trying to think of the site more like an app and less like a blog. So I decided to take some inspiration from Twitteriffic, my go-to Twitter reading app who’ve done an incredible job of making my tweet reading experience even better. They’ve got this great feature where you can shift the app to a dark theme, which makes it a lot easier to read at night.
I’ve decided to take this concept and bring it to TFIB, which I’m simply calling Night Mode. At 7pm the site will switch themes, turning to an inverted version of itself (but not so dark that you can’t see the fox). At 7am, Night Mode switches off and the site goes back to normal. This is based on your computers clock, so it doesn’t matter where in the world you are. My hope is that you’ll have a better reading experience with this change. There’s nothing worse than reading a website that’s too damn bright when you’re laying in bed, whether it’s late at night or early in the morning.
You’ll have to let me know if you like it this new feature or not. You can hit me up on Twitter or on Facebook and let me know either way.
Update: I wrote this at 5am, and that was a poor decision. I’ve rewritten this to be clearer and easier to understand.
On April 1, 2007, after a long bout of not understanding what I wanted to do in life, I decided that it might be fun to start a blog. I didn’t know anything about running a blog. I didn’t know any HTML or CSS, and my writing skills were mediocre at best. But I was excited to share my thoughts and my ideas and anything else that might pop into my head. That enthusiasm has now led me to write nearly every day for six years straight, a feat I never imagined happening. Currently, the site has three full-time writers and 5 part-time writers, all of which add so much value to the site. I trust the taste and opinions of these folks so much and I feel like they help to round out our content in so many ways. Without them the site wouldn’t be what it is, so a huge thanks to them.
I also need to say thanks to anyone who’s reading this. Running a website is hard work, especially when you have a day job like I do. But I’ve had the experience of meeting and interacting with so many rad people in the world because of this website, and for that I’m eternally grateful. Thank you so much for reading and supporting The Fox Is Black.
As with each anniversary I try and refine the site, making the experience better in subtle ways. With this “redesign” there are many style changes, like the texture in the background of the page, plus a lot of larger improvements that I’m really excited about. These were all made possible thanks to my friend Tim Mather, who you might know as one of the founders of the app Untappd. He did an amazing job of turing my design into beautifully functioning code.
Under the jump I’ve put a list of features that are new or updated on the site. This will be particularly interesting to design and web design lovers.
It’s kind of crazy to think about, but five years ago today I started The Desktop Wallpaper Project, which is kind of mind boggling to think about. Five years ago I was 25, I had moved to Los Angeles two years before that, and started Kitsune Noir (what The Fox Is Black used to be named) a year after that. The Desktop Wallpaper Project was a hair-brained idea I had to see if artists, designers or photographers would want to create original works for the site that I could share with my readers. It was a mutually beneficial project that allowed creatives of all skill levels to show off their work and me the opportunity to work with my heroes and those who inspire me.
Over the past five years there have been over 250 wallpapers created, which equals out to almost one every week. The amount of talented folks that have blessed the site with their work is too numerous to list, and for that I’m truly grateful. The DWP has become one of the backbones of the site, it’s the second most trafficked page beside the home page, and readers from around the world come and visit the site every day to liven up the backgrounds of their mobile devices or desktops. The DWP has even paved the way for other sites like Poolga and Kuuva who’ve seen that there’s a true value in wallpapers that are well designed.
I’m looking forward to keeping the project going for another five years and introducing even more great artists to the site. As always you can check the site every Wednesday for a new wallpaper. Thanks again for enjoying this project of mine and for supporting it as you have.
I always thought it would be cool to do interviews on The Fox Is Black. I’ve made some pretty cool friends over the years so it makes a lot of sense. But then these two midwest folks, Ryan and Tina Essmaker, decided to move to New York and start a site called The Great Discontent which is essentially everything I wanted to do only a hundred times better. TGD has taken the idea of an interview and turned it into a an art form, mixing words and imagery seamlessly.
Earlier this morning the interview I did with them went live and I can honestly say I’m so honored to be part of what they’re doing. In it I describe my process of being some kid from the suburbs that really had no idea what he wanted to do in life (other than “make art”) to running The Fox Is Black and having a full time job as an art director at Disney Interactive. It’s also about being passionate in your work and life, and that the only way you’ll succeed is if you put a lot of hard work into the things your most passionate about. Anyhow, hopefully you get something inspiring from the interview, I had a lot of fun talking with Tina and Ryan, they’re great folks.
You can read the interview by clicking here.